Any momentum that the Pittsburgh Penguins’ had hoped to gain off of Friday’s dominating victory over the Nashville Predators, came to a screeching halt Saturday night.
Losing 4-1 to the now fifth-place (Metropolitan) New Jersey Devils, Pittsburgh looked as if they hadn’t left their recent three-game losing streak in the rearview window, because once again they failed to score two-or-more goals and seemed to be a little out of sync with each other.
However, much to the dismay of putting points up on the board, it wasn’t like they didn’t have any chances — I’ll give them that. Pelting Devils’ goaltender Martin Brodeur with 28 shots, the Pens’ moved the puck well, they just didn’t see any results come of it.
What is troubling about those shot attempts was the fact that their secondary scorers’ failed to join the party. With a total of seven shots put on net by the bottom two-lines, the six forwards’ had one more than the defensive unit, which is certainly a discouraging stat to look at.
You have to think that with all the opportunities the top two-lines are delivering of late, ultimately, they’ll start reaping the benefits. But despite their valiant effort towards providing a stabilized production, there is no denying the inconsistency pattern that has clouded the team.
Obviously, the offense has declined in four of their last five contests, but even their defense has become feeble. Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, albeit he made some phenomenal saves last night to keep Pittsburgh in the game, let-in three goals on just 21 shots — including another one of his infamous five-hole squeakers.
In their past five games, the Pens’ have allowed 14 goals. The seven contests before those five they surrendered a total of 14, so in part, the defense is equally to blame for their recent struggles too. Makes you wonder how much the team is missing defenseman Rob Scuderi, who is a tremendous in blocking shots and managing the puck.
Maintaining persistency in each period, and not just one, has also been burdening the club. When it seems the squad is dominating opposing teams’ in puck possession and opportunities for one period, the next period will have a complete shift in power. It isn’t enough for a team to give everything they have in a single period alone, they’ve got to provide it throughout the entire contest.
Whatever the problem seems to be prolonging their success, they’d better fix it fast before Monday, because they’re facing a tough matchup with Anaheim.
The game can be seen on the NBC sports network, and is set to start at 7:30 p.m.